A former Army Green Beret has been sentenced to 188 months in prison on Friday for conspiring with Russian intelligence operatives, according to the Department of Justice (DOJ).
46-year-old Peter Rafael Dzibinski Debbins of Virginia admitted to working with agents of the Russian intelligence service between December 1996 to January 2011, and even signed a document pledging his allegiance to Russia, the DOJ stated in a Friday press release.
— Military Times (@MilitaryTimes) May 14, 2021
Debbins was an active-duty officer in the U.S. Army from 1998 to 2005, serving in chemical units before being transferred to the U.S. Army Special Forces, at the behest of Russian intelligence, according to the DOJ. (RELATED: Former US Marine Sentenced In Russia To 16 Years In Prison For Spying)
The DOJ stated that during this time, Debbins leaked vital information about the chemical and Special Forces, as well as classified information to Russian agents regarding activities conducted by both military units.
“Debbins flagrantly and repeatedly sold out his country, including while he served as a Captain in the U.S. Army Special Forces,” Acting U.S. Attorney Raj Parekh for the Eastern District of Virginia said in a statement.
“The defendant’s brazen disclosures to Russian intelligence agents jeopardized U.S. national security and threatened the safety of his fellow service members. This prosecution underscores our firm resolve to hold accountable those who betray their sworn oath and bring them to justice for their exceptionally serious crimes.”
David Benowitz, an attorney for Debbins, argued that his client was blackmailed by Russia and the leaking of classified information only led to “minimal damage,” the Associated Press reported.